The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace is the official development organization of the Catholic Church in Canada. Inspired by the values of the Gospel, Development and Peace works in partnership with local organizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East in support community initiatives that improve livelihoods and living conditions.
Your gift to the Together We Serve appeal will make a difference for Development and Peace.
During Lent 2016, Development and Peace will be focusing its awareness efforts on the theme "Create a Climate of Change," drawing inspiration from the encyclical of Pope Francis, Laudato Si, On Care for our Common Home.
Lent: A Time for Sharing
Especially in this season, Canadian Catholics are invited to stand in solidarity with communities in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East who are struggling for dignity and justice. Please feel free to share this year's video from Development and Peace:
Create a Climate of Change in Paraguay
Liz Benítez, 13, lives with her parents and brother in Paraguay. Her family lives on an asentamiento, a piece of land where a community is settled, with 50 other families.
In Paraguay, small family farmers are victims of huge inequalities when it comes to access to land. One percent of landowners hold 77 percent of fertile land. Liz’s community lived on land whose ownership was contested by a company. After years of struggle, the government granted the community only a small fraction of the land it once occupied and the entire community was forced to move onto this minuscule parcel.
Since moving, Liz can no longer go to school. The closest high school is 20 kms away. “The school is very far, and
I had to go there on my own. It scared me! I love learning but it’s just not possible at the moment.”
Her father, like many other members of the community, is part of the Paraguayan Peasant Movement. This Development
and Peace partner is helping peasants defend their land rights. The people of the community, like many other peasant
leaders in the country, have received threats and are often repressed by the State and police. Liz dreams of one day returning to school, and for her community to live in peace.
“There have been many instances where I have been mistreated. It really makes me sad. I no longer want to live these problems. I just want to live peacefully with my family.”
Ricardo Nuñez, a member of the Paraguayan Peasant Movement, is thankful for Development and Peace’s support. “We need Development and Peace so that the movement can grow, provide training, hold assemblies and be rooted at the national and
local levels. Several people have no protection, and they need the movement to help them defend their rights.”